Emotionally Connected

Family Therapy

Family therapy is based on the belief that the family is a unique social system with its own patterns of communication. These patterns are determined by many things, including the parents’ beliefs and values, the personalities of the family members, as well as how the family communicates and resolves conflict. Understanding the pattern and breaking the disruptive patterns helps families deepen connection to get through stressful times. Members improve communication skills, perspective taking, and resolve conflicts that affect the entire family. It may include all family members, couples, or just those willing to participate.

I have concerns for my family, there is too much discord.

I fully understand all of the emotions that can boil up when worried for your family’s success and happiness. You may be here because:

  • You have a loved one who is struggling and you want to support their psychological growth.
  • Nothing is ever resolved and your family fights too frequently.
  • You are afraid all of the fighting is affecting the kids negatively.
  • You are concerned that the family will break up.
  • There has been a parental separation or divorce and you would like support through this difficult time.
  • You have a child with special needs which changes the relating dynamics in the family.
  • You and your partner don’t have the same parenting style which creates conflict.
  • The children are out of control and disrespectful.

We need help with communication skills.

Negative patterns of relating are very difficult to manage without an objective listener. Many times conflict is not resolved in families due to repetitive relating that doesn’t work, leaving members that they are misunderstood, underappreciated, nagged, yelled at or ignored. Tracking the pattern of communication between family members will discover your style in resolving conflict or lack thereof. Do you pursue to resolve the issue here and now even if the other person is pulling away or shutting down? Or perhaps you are the one who shuts down and pulls away; nothing you ever do makes them happy anyway? Working through these family dynamic with the Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) model will help members see their part in the destructive pattern and make changes towards harmony among members, learning to resolve hurt feelings and conflict.

Why choose Bess over all the other therapists?

Choosing the right therapist for your child is a very important decision. The “right” therapist is different for every person. Ideally there will be a true connection for therapy to be helpful. I’m in the advanced stages of completing certification in Emotionally Focused Family Therapy that focuses on attachment based treatment for family connections. I’ve dedicated my life’s work specializing in children and families. I’ve obtained specialized training on reflective parenting from The Center for Reflective Communities, that has dedicated their research and training to helping parents develop their reflective capacities.Additionally, I have received an endorsement from the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental health organization, honoring me with a certificate that describes the extra years of early childhood and family dynamic training I’ve dedicated my learning to beyond the basic requirements for licensing as a child therapist.

In addition to the Early Childhood certification and the generalized courses completed for licensure, I am in the advanced stages of completing additional coursework for a doctoral program in child and adolescent psychology. Lastly, I am truly fascinated in learning all aspects of supporting the social and emotional growth for children, parents and families. I will continue to learn, because working with children and families is what I love to do most.

What do I tell my family about going to therapy?

There are many misconceptions about therapy. If a member of the family is hesitant to come, you will want to talk to them about their resistance. Children are unsure what to expect or fear being blamed for the problems in the family. Other members may feel worried that this is an indication the something is very wrong in their family and don’t want to admit to how difficult things are. Suggesting an agreement that the family attends therapy three times usually allows enough time to build an initial connection and calm any concerns the family members may have about therapy.For families with young children, therapy can be discussed over playful activities, they are not expected to sit and attend the entire time. Reassurance is typically the best way to ease fears about therapy. If you have specific concerns, we can navigate that during an initial phone conversation to make sure that you and your child is comfortable to begin therapy.

You may still have questions about the therapeutic process:

    • Our schedule is very impacted, how will we add one more thing?
      One thing we all need more of, is time. My hope is that in developing smoother relating in your family, you will have less difficult moments and more connected moments that will free up time naturally. With that said, I do try my best to work out a schedule that will work for you. With a little flexibility on both our parts, the schedule tends to work out. Once an agreed upon time has been reached, consistency and commitment to therapy is important for a good outcome. I work Tuesday – Friday and afternoon appointments tend to fill up quickly. If my schedule cannot accommodate you, I will do my best to place you with a trusted therapist.


    • Can I afford therapy?
      This answer is different for every family; however with your consent I am happy to bill your mental health insurance as an out-of-network provider for you as long as it is a PPO plan. This typically works well, only being responsible for the coinsurance or copay amount. There are some insurance plans that have high deductibles, low reimbursement rates, or does not cover certain diagnostic codes that could make the cost of therapy difficult to manage. I’m happy to check into your insurance benefits for you, and with that information you can make an informed decision about seeing me, or possible going with an in-network-provider on your plan.


  • This is informative, but I’d like to speak to a real person about my concerns.
    It’s best to call me to discuss your specific concerns. I typically return non-urgent calls within the same day you leave a message, unless it is on a weekend or holiday. I recommend leaving a message with some good times to call you back. I’m often unable to pick up calls immediately when in session.

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